Maptia: Surfing Korea’s Demilitarized Zone Seoul Surfing: The 38th Parallel Surf Project By Shannon Aston South Korea has gotten the surf bug badly. 38th Parallel Beach has fast become a hub for Seoul’s young jet-setting surfer class. A three-hour drive from Seoul, on any given day you will see trendies, gangsters, Hongdae hipsters, Gangnam DJ’s […]
Surfing, we all do it, love it, celebrate it, fetishize it and go on and on about it in a way that normal people like to make fun of us when they can. They don’t and won’t really understand why we make it the central figure in our lives.
Seoul is three long hours from the east coast and the swells are brief, so timing is everything in Korea. Surfers agonize over daily reports and the cams to pick the exact right time to make the trip east. Seven-day forecasts tease and toy with our emotions during the week only to vanish at the last second. Epic swells abruptly turn their backs on us and march back out to sea. Seoulites envy the surfers living in the mountains or on the coast who can surf with much less hassle and heartache. Korean Huey is a cruel sort, so if you see a wave best you surf it while its there.
he beach was no different. On the coast, all the unusual aspects of Korean life were there to see. Enchanting scenes of the past and the future, old men working the fields, fisherman drinking and smoking heavily while they fixed nets, young Korean surfers bobbing in the line-up sporting only the latest brands of surf and camp lifestyle like badges of honour. Seoul surfer girls indulging in a popular Korean pastime and are seen sleeping off hangovers in their wetsuits on the beach and anywhere else they can. Restaurant owners proudly present you their signature dishes and gush that a white man could like spicy food or even ask for more of their own homemade Kimchi; in this moment you have made a friend for life. Kind-hearted Ajeossis pose playfully for the camera, even though strapped heavily in a neck brace. As the Soju and fried chicken comes, so do the rowdy times where Koreans finally allow themselves to let their strict moral guard down and drink and smoke heavily. Today’s episode is some of my observations of the kooky après-surf from around 38th beach.
KORDUROY TV: SURFING THE 38TH PARALLEL: PHOTO ESSAY SERIES: 6 PARTS (Published March 2013) PART ONE: Winter: http://www.korduroy.tv/2013/surfing-the-38th-parallel-photo-essay-series-winter/ PART TWO: Soldiers and the Sand: http://www.korduroy.tv/2013/surfing-the-38th-parallel-photo-essay-series-soldiers-and-the-sand/ PART THREE Seoul Surfers: http://www.korduroy.tv/2013/surfing-the-38th-parallel-photo-essay-series-seoul-surfers PART FOUR: Waves http://www.korduroy.tv/2013/surfing-the-38th-parallel-photo-essay-series-waves-get-them-while-you-can PART FIVE: Strange Tales: http://www.korduroy.tv/2013/surfing-the-38th-parallel-photo-essay-series-strange-tales PART SIX: Saying Goodbye: http://www.korduroy.tv/2013/surfing-the-38th-parallel-saying-goodbye-to-south-korea/